A student can use chapter summaries posted online to supplement his learning through further understanding of difficult concepts from the chapter. He can review each chapter summary after reading a chapter, or review the summaries for every chapter after finishing the book.
Two popular study guide companies that offer chapter summaries for literary works are SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, as of March 2015. Both companies recommend using the study guides in conjunction with reading the material. They advise against using the study guide as a substitute for reading the book.
In the How to Use CliffsNotes section of the Cliffsnote website, it recommends that a student use the notes as a starting point for his own ideas regarding the literary work. He can use his deeper understanding of the book to develop his own theories.
Some teachers encourage using a study guide that offers chapter summaries to assist the learning process, but most discourage using it to avoid reading the book. Certain teachers specifically design questions that cannot be answered by only reading chapter summaries. Although a student who only reads chapter summaries may still pass his quizzes or tests, he may not achieve a full understanding of the source material.